Heartbroken Little Britain star Matt Lucas is being comforted by friends and his mum after splitting with his partner Kevin McGee - whom he wed in a civil ceremony two-and-a-half years ago. The pair announced their amicable separation in a statement this week. It marks the first time a wealthy celebrity same sex couple have decided to dissolve their legal union.
It's not known whether the couple, who began dating six years ago, signed a pre-civil partnership agreement - the equivalent of a pre-nup - before tying the knot. With the rules for the dissolution of a civil partnership being broadly the same as those for divorce, Matt's TV producer former partner will be entitled to a slice of comedian's £15 million fortune.
Matt has hired Mishcon de Reya - the firm of solicitors used by Heather Mills for her divorce from Paul McCartney - though friends say the TV funnyman is hoping 31-year-old Kevin will accept a swift out-of-court settlement.
Those close to the pair say they have simply "fallen out of love" and grown apart as Matt's burgeoning fame on both sides of the Atlantic caused them to spend more and more time apart.
"It's nobody's fault… It's just very sad their marriage has come to an end," says the pal. "There was much soul-searching between them."
He adds: "Matt is really concerned because it doesn't do much for the image of gay civil partnerships. But he thinks that you can't live in a loveless marriage, and if it's over, then it's over."